Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy) is a clinically proven therapy designed for use with couples and for adult love relationships. It's the approach we favour at All Relationship Matters for our couples, simply because it works.
EFT has been validated by over 20 years of empirical research. Research studies show that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and 90% show significant improvement when receiving counselling using EFT. Emotion Focused Therapy is equally effective across cultures, with heterosexual and same-sex couples
EFT is founded on ‘attachment theory’. This explains that we’re hard-wired to form strong attachments in order to feel safe. Although our culture teaches us to value independence, a strong attachment to your partner is actually a good thing. We want to matter to those we love. We need to know that if we ask, ‘Are you there for me?’ that the answer will be a resounding, ‘Yes!
Our brains interpret separation or emotional distance from a partner as ‘danger’. That’s why we react so strongly when our partner pulls away, or when we can’t get close. How we react depends on our personality. Some people react with anger and some react by being cold and seemingly indifferent. So in a couple, one partner will usually react by fighting, getting angry, criticizing, complaining or making demands, and the other will react by withdrawing, hiding, defending or avoiding. Both reactions are actually attempts to secure and keep the relationship safe, to draw one's partner back in emotionally, or to preserve the relationship by avoiding conflict. But what couples usually see are behaviours and not the underlying intent. So couples believe that their partner is simply just critical and demanding, while the other simply just don't care and withdrawing.
At the core of every conflict, each person is essentially asking, “Can I depend on you?” “Do I matter to you?” “Am I adequate for you?” “Am I important to you?” “Will you be emotionally available to me?” If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” the couple will begin to disconnect.
EFT can stop these negative cycles of anger and withdrawal. The first step in EFT is to map out what is happening. The next is to help you identify and express your fears and needs. This leads to far greater understanding between you as a couple. You can then work together to create new ways of expressing yourselves.
Some common struggles that couples face:
- fighting about the same issue over and over again with little or no resolution
- feelings of not being heard and understood
- communication problems, as if each of you are speaking a different language
- emotional distance and a loss of intimacy
- too much time spent on phone, computer or other distractions
- lack of affection and closeness
- loss of trust or a lack of trust
- feeling constantly criticised and nagged – like you’re never good enough
- feeling that you don’t matter to your partner – feeling unseen, unheard and unloved
- disagreements about how to parent your children
- sexual problems and sexual dissatisfaction
- suffering due to the trauma of infidelity
- a rift in your relationship caused by your new ‘blended’ family
- feeling tempted to stray outside your marriage
- wondering if you should separate but feeling confused about what is the best decision
* Please note that physical and sexual abuse is not included in this list, due to their extreme nature and because they are totally unacceptability under any circumstances.
Through our couples counselling services using EFT, couples can:
- learn what is really going on underneath the repetitive arguments
- learn how to speak a language where you can be both be heard and have both your needs met
- enhance your emotional closeness and intimacy without the need to withdraw or reject
- regain and build trust to feel secure again
- feel affirmed and validated for who you are by your partner
- feel important, seen and heard by your partner
- negotiate a way into parenting your children that is authentic for both of you
- increase your sexual intimacy and activity
Couples counselling using EFT can make you both feel secure again. You can grow in empathy and understanding for each other. You will see initial changes and shifts after the first few sessions. Over time your relationship can transform powerfully for the better. Call us on 0400 999 918 to speak with our EFT therapist or make an online submission.